Newport Vintage Dance Week Part I: 1920s Gatsby Ball at Rosecliff

Remember I recently promised you lots of awesome pictures and recounted adventures? Last week was the 25th annual Newport Vintage Dance Week hosted by the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers. The week includes vintage dance classes during the day followed by fabulous afternoon events and formal balls in the evenings. All of the events are held in lovely places including some of Newport’s famous historic mansions!

My friends and I took a whopping 4,796 (ish) pictures during the week!!! Yikes! I promise I won’t put up ALL of them… but even after sorting, there are still mounds of great ones to share. Get ready, because a marathon of awesome-ness is beginning… right now!

Part I: the 1920s Gatsby Ball at Rosecliff:

Commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899, architect Stanford White modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles. After the house was completed in 1902, at a reported cost of $2.5 million, Mrs. Oelrichs hosted fabulous entertainments here, including a fairy tale dinner and a party featuring famed magician Harry Houdini. (From the Newport Mansions website about Rosecliff. The site also includes really beautiful pictures of the mansion. I encourage you to click the link to look at them!)

The setting: Rosecliff as we arrived in the twilight. (Rargh, lions!)
Ready Newport? We’re here and it’s the 20s!
The yawning red carpeted grand staircase just inside the entrance.
It turns out that we were wearing complementing shades of green and gold!

I made a new green dress for this ball–my first 20s dress. I’m not really a huge fan of this particular period, but it was fun to branch out and build something different. In fact, I know at least 4 of the 5 dresses we were wearing were built new for this ball (some were finished just before the ball…). It’s really neat that without realizing it we all coordinated, but each of us managed to incorporate different design pieces into our dresses: one has panels, one has beads, one has asymmetrical draping, one has fringe, and one has an overskirt. All similar 20s shapes, and all totally different and entirely unique!

The staircase required lounging and looking elegant.
More lounging… we lost a few people from the last shot. Oh well!
Just practicing a bit of Charleston before entering the ballroom…
I’m not sure what we’re discussing, but we look rather intent on the topic…
The ceiling of the ballroom!
The live orchestra (I believe this ball had music by the New River Orchestra).
Looking in on the ballroom from the lovely patio.
Contrary to the impression in the following pictures: there were actually lots of other people at the ball in addition to us…
We really enjoyed the Charleston and more importantly, we enjoyed Charleston-ing together!
More Charleston!
Kicks and flying Charlestons were not to be left out! I am particularly amused that this picture captured some of us in midair!
Look, we’re all kicking the same way at the same time! How cute!
This became one of our signature dances for the week: Charleston in a line!
It accompanied one of our other signature dances: the Raise the Roof Charleston (which I don’t think I have pictures of at this ball–but perhaps at another ball I’ll find some). Raise the Roof Charleston is simply regular Charleston footwork while raising the roof with your hands–it’s super silly and super fun!
I think we took most of those Charleston pictures during mid-ball refreshment time, which is why the ballroom is empty behind us. But here is more proof that there were other people at the ball, too!
There were other lovely rooms in addition to the ballroom that we could wander through… isn’t this one cosy?
And this one, which is grand and fabulous! I love the curtains!
Okay, part of my love of the curtains is related to my love of tassels, especially giant upholstery/drapery tassels!
It was, of course, essential that I have my picture taken with the fabulous drapes!
There were a lot of poses… this is only a few!
Trading places: I’m behind the camera now…!
Another view of the same room. Isn’t is wonderfully fabulous???
Here I am, be-feathered, be-pearled, be-gloved, and enjoying the mirror doors!
Mirrored doors are mesmerizing and fantastic photo opportunities! More feathers! More jewels! More pearls! More gloves! More awesome! (More adequate! Inside joke…)
Just one of the many fabulous chandeliers hanging from one of the fabulous ceilings!

It was essential that every day include at least one super silly moment. Most days, of course, there were many silly moments…

This was just one silly moment from this ball (in case you can’t tell what’s happening–and I don’t blame you, because honestly, I can’t really tell either… I only know because I was there–we are attempting to imitate the statue behind us).
Another silly moment, diving into the fountain!
Ok, so we didn’t actually dive into the fountain… but we did briefly consider it!
Strike a final pose before the night ends!

Congratulations! You made it through all the pictures!

Final tally: 35 pictures out of 890 from that event.

I leave you with vicarious memories of a window into a glorious evening of the past–tonight, the 1920s.

8 thoughts on “Newport Vintage Dance Week Part I: 1920s Gatsby Ball at Rosecliff

  1. What a beautiful event, no wonder you’ve taken plenty of photos!!! The place/location is truly amazing. What fun to wander through the rooms and feel like being set back in time.
    You look stunning!


  2. Hi, loverly place and dresses….wonderful job being “in the year/moment” and I really wish I could have been there with you! Would have been an enjoyable thing to do, however……PLEASE reduce the size of the photos (ie the pixels) when you send out your weekly emails. It took 15 attempts through Incredimail to get your post to download! Thanks!

  3. The shot of us imitating the statue was indeed…..peculiar. Appropriately enough I look like an over aged and over weight society stalker. It was a great evening though.

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